Saturday, June 30, 2012

Evangelists in New Jersey Jailed for Preaching at Train Station

06/26/2012 United States (Christian News) - Two Christian evangelists were arrested in West Windsor, New Jersey early Tuesday morning after preaching the Gospel without obtaining permission and for attempting to record the encounter with police.

Robert Parker and Don Karns state that they have been preaching at the Princeton Junction train station for several years, which is a part of the New Jersey Transit system, a provider of public transportation.

They explained to Christian News Network that after they had finished preaching and witnessing to those waiting for trains, and were leaving, they were approached by Sergeant Kathleen Shanahan and Officer Sandy Crowe. Parker and Karns said that Shanahan was “extremely hostile.”

The officers stated that the evangelists had violated the law for speaking at the train station without a “permit,” and demanded identification. Parker and Karns attempted to record the encounter with their cell phones, but were ordered to turn them off, which they did.

“[Sergeant Shanahan] started repeatedly saying, ‘Put the phone down; put the phone down,’” Karns recounted. “You guys are big guys, and I’m just a little officer. You know how scary it is when you have a camera in your hand. How do I know you’re not terrorists? I have no way of knowing that’s not a bomb.”

Karns said that Shanahan explained that she had just been to a class last week which showed cell phones being used as weapons, and informed the men that it was against the law for them to film her. She later told Parker that she also had concerns about his backpack, which was searched for train tickets after it was confiscated by police.

While Parker provided identification, Karns asserted his right to privacy. Parker’s ID was not acceptable to the officers.

“She demanded ID, and I said, ‘What law am I breaking?’ and she said, ‘I’m going to take you to jail,’” Parker remembered.

The men were then taken into custody and transported to be booked and charged. As they were separated, Parker states that he overheard the officers disagreeing over which cell to place him in.

“There’s a pervert in there; we’ll put him in that one,” he heard Shanahan say.

The evangelists spent three hours in jail and now face criminal proceedings for three offenses: defiant trespass, and two counts of obstruction for recording with a cell phone and declining to provide identification.

“They treated us like terrorists,” Karns stated.

The right to free speech is under attack today,” said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a nationally-recognized legal organization, which will be providing legal assistance to the evangelists. “The Supreme Court has said you cannot ban public speech,” he added, citing that two significant rulings exist pertaining to free speech at similar transportation venues such as airports.

“What Robert Parker and Dons Karns are doing is very important,” he said. “I encourage people to get out there, whatever it is they want to talk about.”

Whitehead also explained that the nation’s highest court has declared that citizens have a right to anonymity, as well as to record police behavior.

“The police do not like to be recorded, but we have a right to record them because they’re our employees,” he said. “If bombs record, that’s a new invention. … It sounds like a stupid excuse(Source).”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nigerian Missionaries Trapped As Militants Embrace Christ

The fact that Muslim terrorists are receiving Christ Jesus as their Savior and Lord brings joy to my heart!!!!!!!!

06/28/2012 Nigeria (Worthy News)-A group of Nigerian missionaries and Christian converts have managed to escape a battle field in northern Nigeria where some militants embraced Christianity, but elsewhere Christians faced Islamic attacks, a key mission leader told Worthy News.

Rae Burnett, Africa director for the Christian Aid Mission group, said as "word came that native missionaries under siege last week had escaped from Muslim terrorist murderers, Gospel workers from another mission field called in to report that they are now under attack."

In a letter, shared by CAM with Worthy News, an unidentified Nigerian mission leader says that "a whole village in southern Kaduna is fighting" and that "five missionaries" are "there now whose work among local unreached Muslim tribes has been very successful."

The missionaries arrived there to "comfort and shelter unprepared villagers who fled in terror as heavily armed Muslim militants invaded without warning. No police or soldiers have come, and it is doubtful they will."

The mission leader, whose name was not released amid security concerns, hopes Christians will "pray that our base there is not destroyed tonight. Pray that our missionaries will be safe," as the group has "no money to temporally move staff."

Missionaries said as many as 400 people have died since Islamic group Boko Haram, or 'Western Education is a Sin', bombed three churches in cities Kaduna and Zaria, as well last week.

However, "There is still much good news" as elsewhere "all our Muslim converts" trapped since last week "are secure and protected now in our discipleship center," the mission leader said. "The [village] chief wants us back when he knows it is safe."

And in a major turnaround, the missionary suggested that some members of Boko Haram have turned to Christianity. The missionary said the mission group is "committed to reaching the militants, and some few have left and joined us."

"We are discipling and protecting them in secret."

Though the work has been "so successful beyond what we could ever have imagined" challenges remain, the missionary acknowledged.

"The discipleship center for Muslim converts [to Christianity] needs mosquito nets, school supplies for the children, and medical supplies. We are caring for many wounded in this war," the missionary added.

It wasn't easy to get them out of the battle zone. "When the killing began in the main city, Muslims in the small town started intimidating our people. They told them to leave or be blamed for the killing because we are making their people Christians," the mission leader recalled.

"The village chief has welcomed and accepted our people, but he was afraid of the militants, so we temporarily retreated the missionaries. Many people died near them, and they admit that they were afraid."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

China Should Embrace House Churches

06/22/2012 China (The Guardian) - Like all Chinese children, I was taught at school the Chinese Communist party's prediction about religion: as society progresses, religion will slowly fade from people's lives until it finally disappears. Mao bluntly said that religion was a poison and tried to wipe out religious practices.

But the opposite has happened. In the past three decades, as our economy has flourished and personal freedoms have increased, religions of all forms have started to thrive. Yet instead of joining officially sanctioned churches, the Chinese have been flocking to unofficial houses of worship – the so-called house churches, with up to 100 million members. While technically illegal, the house churches have been largely tolerated in recent years thanks to relaxed control and the government's realisation that religion can be a moral force to be reckoned with.

The statistics are hard to come by but Protestantism is generally regarded as the fastest growing. Before China's reforms and opening up, there were only 2 million Christians but the figure has increased 40- to 50-fold in the past three decades. According to Frank Lee, a Chinese academic who has studied the development of house churches in China, there are currently 20 million registered with the Three-Self Church, whereas the house churches boast 10 million Catholics and up to 70 million Protestants. Others put the figures even higher. Farmers and migrant workers make up the bulk.

The Chinese Communist party has been struggling as it tries to balance making use of religion as a moral force with its habitual inclination to control it. Unfortunately, the party's fear of any independent organisation wins out often. Shouwang, a large house church in Beijing with 1,000 members, attempted to establish its own venue in 2010 but failed. More disturbing was the sentencing of a house church pastor in Shandong province to a labour camp last July for supposedly illegal gatherings.

Instead of curtailing the growth of house churches, the Chinese authorities should accept the religious movement as a positive force. There is an ongoing discussion here in China about the decline of morality as our country has become increasingly money-worshiping. So the tugs and pulls of modern life tend to leave any nation's people searching for a spiritual outlet. China's leaders constantly speak of building a "harmonious society" – what better way to do it then to involve churches(Source)?

Christians Urged Not To Leave Egypt As Future Looks Increasingly Uncertain

06/22/2012 Egypt (The Christian Post) - Over the last few days, I've been talking to Christian leaders here in Cairo, and asking them who would make the best president: Mohammed Morsi, the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, or Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. One replied: "One offers poison in a spoon, the other in a cup." Everyone agrees that neither candidate captures the mood of the revolution. Together, the two men represent the twin shoals of apprehension — political Islam, and the ancient rĂ©gime — through which Egypt's political culture is moving.

As the world's attention remains focused on the results of the presidential election — and the fear that the military may render the vote count moot with a de facto coup — the role of religion in this country still remains obscure to many Western observers.

Being from Canada or the United States, we like to imagine that there is some sort of line between mosque and state that at least some political candidates here are pledging to respect. And yes, it is true that Mr. Shafiq would do more to separate the two domains than Mr. Morsi. But the fact remains that in Egypt, as in most Muslim nations, country and faith blur into one another.

For instance, it is not thought inappropriate for an imam to tell his people how to vote. And the imposition of Shariah law is a common objective embraced by many Islamic leaders in this country. No doubt, even an Islamist government in Egypt would pledge nominal human rights protection for minorities. But as a senior Christian leader in the region noted to me: "By their book, Muslims regard us as infidels." Once branded with this label, Christians may not get any real protection at all.

On a nuts-and-bolts level, the concern of Christians is over the constitution: Who will be included in the drafting committee? What will it say about religious freedoms? Christians in Egypt are rightly anxious. Tens of thousands already have left, with most remaining families having someone in the process of applying for immigrant status in the West.

I've returned to Egypt because it is a microcosm of the emerging drive of Islamist leaders to increase their faith's hold on politics and demography in the Middle East — and, in some cases, worldwide. Egypt is a bell weather. If Christians (12 percent of the population) walk away, the power and presence of Christian ideals and witness lose by default. Strategically, it matters as a test case as to how Christianity can face the aggressive and often hostile stance of another faith and live successfully as a minority alongside a majority. If it can't work in Egypt, will other dominoes fall?

My message to Christians in Egypt and other places where they face such challenges is: Don't leave. Christian faith is about being salt and light, preserving and illuminating. It is about serving as leaven in bread — to influence without dominating, to love without necessarily being liked. My plea to Christian ministers and professionals at a conference south of Alexandria was for them to live out the faith of the Gospel where they are, rather than make personal comfort and security the only factor(Source).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Convert from Islam in Sudan Loses Wife, Children

06/19/2012 Sudan (CDN)-A year ago Mohammed Khidir Khalil was glad his family had obtained refugee status in Egypt after fleeing Islamic hostilities in Sudan. The 38-year-old Christian was also heartened that his formerly unbelieving wife was attending church with him. Today the convert from Islam is back in Sudan fighting to recover his family after his in-laws compelled his wife to claim she was Muslim and divorce him. A Sudanese court automatically granted her custody of their two sons and forbade him to see them, he said. He fears that if he persists in his legal battle, he faces the threat of being accused of “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.

It was last August that his Muslim mother-in-law visited them in Egypt.
“Without my knowledge, she took my wife and children back to Sudan,” Khalil said.
The couple had fled Sudan just before the South Sudan vote for independence on Jan. 9, 2011, after threats from the couples’ Muslim families and others intensified, Khalil said. In Egypt, they reported their case to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and won asylum.

In emails to friends back in Sudan, Khalil freely shared his Christian experience and pointed out what he termed as contradictions in Islam. Hearing nothing from his family after his mother-in-law took his wife and two sons back to Sudan, on Christmas Day Khalil decided to return to an undisclosed town in Sudan to search for them. He was shocked to discover that his wife, Manal Hassan, had filed for divorce on grounds that she was a Muslim and he a Christian.

Khalil, who converted to Christianity in 2001, had met Hassan in 2007. At that time she said she was neither a Christian nor a Muslim, and they married in a non-religious wedding. The bride’s Muslim family learned that Khalil was a Christian but had no objection to the marriage, he said. By 2010 the couple had joined an undisclosed church and had become visibly active in it; opposition from their families grew, leading to the couple’s flight to Egypt in early 2011.

Last February, Khalil decided to appeal the divorce ruling. His wife had presented a copy of the UNHCR certificate showing Khalil’s testimony as a Christian, however, and that was proof enough for a judge to rule in March that the marriage be annulled and the children automatically handed over to the spouse professing “the popular religion” – Islam, the supposed faith of Hassan.

In spite of the court’s ruling that Khalil did not have a right to even visit the children, in April he decided to try to see them. His former wife’s family threatened to call police if he persisted. “I am very upset with courts like this that bar one from seeing one’s children,” he said. “I have to appeal against this.”

Asked what risks he might incur by appealing, Khalil said it could lead to a case against him for apostasy – punishable by death in Sudan, where sharia (Islamic law) is established as a primary source of legislation.
“They might take the case to a prosecution court, which might lead to my sentencing to death according to Islamic apostasy law – but I am ready for this,” Khalil said. “I want the world to know this. What crime have I done? Is it because I became a Christian? I know if the world is watching, they will be afraid to do any harm to me(Continue to read)."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hindus Brutally Attack Christians in Orissa: 20 Injured, Families Flee

06/18/2012 India (AsiaNews)-The pastor of a Pentecostal Church and 12 families of his community were seriously wounded, in the district of Balasore. The police seized explosives and dynamite in another district (Puri) of Orissa. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Hindu nationalists are preparing a "diabolical plan" to repeat the 2008 violence of Kandhamal.

Mumbai- A new "brutal attack" in Orissa, which responds to a "diabolical plan": this is how Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), defines the violent assault committed by more than 50 Hindu ultranationalists against Evangelist Baidhare, the pastor of the Pentecostal Fellowship Prayer group, and 12 families of his community. The violence took place in the district of Balasore. According to the GCIC president, the attack "is meant to terrify the Christian minority. They want to repeat what happened in 2008, with the anti-Christian pogroms in the Kandhamal district." Confirming this hypothesis was the discovery of some handmade explosives in another district of the state.

On June 15, a group of Hindu nationalists attacked and seriously injured the Rev. Baidhar, 50, while he was returning home in the village of Mitrapur after a prayer service. The attackers left the minister on the ground, bleeding. Shortly after, some believers found him and took him to a local hospital to receive the necessary treatment.

When the Hindus found out that Rev. Baidhar had been rescued, about 50 of them attacked 12 Christian families, injuring 20 people, young and old, and attempted to rape a few girls. Not content with that, the attackers looted their homes. Following the attack, many members of these families vanished into thin air, and there has been no news of them since. The suspicion is that they are hiding in the jungle, as happened in 2008 in Kandhamal. Sajan George says that the GCIC in Bhubaneshwar only discovered what had happened on June 16, and immediately denounced the events to the police of Nilgiri.

Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu ultranationalists killed 93 people, burned and looted more than 6,500 homes, and destroyed over 350 churches and 45 schools. Because of the pogroms, in 2008 more than 50 thousand people, mostly Christians, were displaced. Today, there are still 10,000 refugees. The Church in Orissa has always initiated assistance and reconstruction programs, aimed at both Christians and Hindus(Source).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chinese House Church Raided During Baptism Service, 17 Detained By Police

06/11/2012 China (ChinaAid) - A baptism service at a Han Chinese house church in far west China’s region of Xinjiang was raided last week by local officials and police, who detained 17 Christians. The raid on the Bajiahu house church in the town of Niuchang, Jinghe county was conducted on the morning of June 7.

More than 20 Christians, including the house church leader and those who were to be baptized, had just started gathering at the meeting site when two police officers burst into the meeting. Shortly thereafter, officials in charge of religion and domestic security protection rushed to the scene in four government vehicles. They took 17 believers into custody and held them until 7 p.m., when they were released into the custody of officers from the respective police stations of each detainee’s residence who escorted them home.

The leader of the house church, a woman named Wang Lili, was not at the scene during the raid, but the purse she left at the meeting site, which contained her government ID card, keys and more than 3,600 yuan (US$565), was confiscated. She went to the police on the day after the raid to try to get her personal belongings back but had no success. By Sunday, her belongings still had not been returned(Source).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Christianity’s future in China

China, these days, has been the hotbead for religion of the risen Savior Jesus Christ, even with all of the persecution my brethren in Christ haved faced over there. However, I've always wanted to know why. Well this article answers that question.

6/9/2012 China ( – Christianity is the world’s fastest growing religion, but not in America.
Not in Europe.

Throughout Africa and Asia, and especially China, is experiencing revival. Amidst restrictions and persecution, a house and secret church network flourishes. How did China become the future of Christianity?

In 1853, Hudson Taylor left a life of wealth and prominence in England to take the Gospel to China. His father was a pharmacist, and Taylor was studying to become a physician. God called him to become a missionary to the 400 million people in China. The United States today has 300 million. China was the most populous country on earth back then, and still is today.

In 1853 there were a dozen missionaries and only a handful of Christians in the entire country. Taylor moved into England’s poorest neighborhood for preparation to live among China’s poor. Family and friends all discouraged Taylor from going across the world to reach those who’ve never heard of Christ.

He was surprised at the apathy in England towards reaching the world for Christ. He had a burning passion for the Lord others didn’t share. Taylor took the Gospel to interior China. Other missionaries were afraid to travel into mainline China, rather they remained in coastal trade cities.

Inland China had never heard the Gospel. He began a mission agency, China Inland Mission, with the purpose of going deep into China on faith – no financial support from England – and would adopt the Chinese culture by wearing their clothes and learning the language.

He went around giving away Chinese Bibles and tracts. Taylor was one of the first missionaries to contextualize the Gospel, adopting this from Paul in I Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some.” If you’re going to reach the Chinese for Christ – talk, eat, dress and think Chinese.

Taylor’s wife died at age 33. Four of their eight children died before reaching 10-years-old, and Taylor struggled with depression and sickness on the mission field. Taylor died in 1905, 52 years after arriving in China. He had brought over 800 other missionaries to China – and encouraged single women to go on the mission field, which inspired Lottie Moon.

Taylor started 125 schools for Chinese children and witnessed 18,000 conversions to Christianity. When Taylor started China Inland Mission, no missionary had entered 11 of China’s 18 provinces. When Taylor died, every province, except three, had missionaries sharing the Gospel(Source).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Seven Christians In China Arrested For Committing ‘Cult Crimes’

05/04/2012 China (ChinaAid) - In an alarming escalation of a Hebei province persecution case in in which more than 200 police and government officials surrounded and raided a house church meeting and apprehended more than 50 believers, ChinaAid has learned that seven of them have been formally arrested for “cult” crimes.

After the Daying village house church, in Rendian town, Ye county, in the city of Pingdingshan was raided on April 14, eight of the 54 Christians who were taken into police custody were criminally detained after an investigation. They were being held in either the Ye county detention center or the Pingdingshan detention center.

ChinaAid has just learned that one of the eight detainees was released, but the remaining seven have all been formally arrested and charged by the Ye County Public Security Bureau with “organizing a cult to undermine law enforcement.”

Qi Siyu, from Fuxin, Liaoning province, was released after her friends paid 3000 yuan (US$470) in unspecified fees. Qi is about 18 years old and is an orphan.

The seven charged with cult crimes are:
Han Hai, male, aged 60, previously administratively detained twice, was also sentenced to a labor camp for three years. Now held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Hu Linpo, from Singapore, male, aged 49, the house church’s main preacher, was detained in 1989 for 30 days. Criminally detained on April 18 and is now held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Yang Lianbin, male, aged 23, working in Zhengzhou. Now held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Zhang Mian, female, aged 37, owner of the home where the church meets. Criminally detained on April 20, now held in the Pingdingshan Detention Center.

Cao Xia, female, in her 50s, owner of another home where the church meets. Police seized from her home CDs of Hu Linpo preaching and a computer used to make copies of the sermon CDs. Police also confiscated a Chinese-made Liebao SUV parked outside Cao’s home that belonged to a Christian man who was there to listen to the preaching. Cao was criminally detained on April 20 and is now held in the Pingdingshan Detention Center.

Wang En, female, in her 20s, taken from Cao Xia’s home, said to have helped make copies of Preacher Hu’s sermon CDs. Held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Li Dan, female, in her 20s, taken from Cao Xia’s home, probably for copying CDs. Held in the Pindingshan Detention Center.

The families of Preacher Hu, Zhang Mian and Wang En have already signed documents hiring lawyers for their detained family members(Source).

Pakistani Christian Women Tortured By Police During Traffic Stop

06/01/2012 Pakistan (CIC) - Christian women from Faisalabad were on their way back home after attending the funeral service of their relative from Sandhilianwala, in Toba Tek Singh, when their van was stopped by traffic police near the railway level crossing, Pir Mahal on May 21, 2012.

The driver, Shahbaz Masih (also a Christian) was abused by the traffic officer and later sent to jail for protesting an illegal fine. The Christian women passengers were badly tortured by the police, and police tried to snatch the camera of a local TV reporter for covering their manhandling and baton charging.

Local journalist Sultan Sidho told ANS, "The driver was asked to show the registration and other required papers. The driver showed the required papers, then the traffic police officer snatched the mobile phone and keys to the van and forced the driver, Shahbaz Masih, to pay one thousand Rupees ($11 US) fine. Shahbaz debated with the officer because he had all the required papers and did not violate any traffic rules. Upon hearing this, the officer became furious and started slapping him and calling names."

Sultan went on to say, "The passengers (all Christian women) requested the driver to pay one thousand rupees to the officer and told him that they will pay him back later. The driver paid the amount and asked the officer to return his mobile phone and the keys of the van. The officer refused to return the mobile and the van keys. The passengers protested against the officer's attitude as they were getting late. The women started a sit-in and chanted slogans against the traffic police. The traffic officer called the police who badly tortured the Christian women and driver(Source).

Arab Believers Risk Death For Faith

I thank the Lord for the boldness and bravery of my Arab brethren in Christ. I pray that his courage will enable our more timid brethren in Christ in the Middle East to stand boldly for the Lord Jesus Christ.

06/04/2012 Middle East (Charisma News) - What happens when a Muslim comes to Christ in the Middle East? Many fear persecution so they keep their Christian faith a secret. Others, like evangelist "Rasim," boldly profess their faith and suffer dire consequences as a result. There are dangers but also blessings of embracing and sharing the gospel in a very distressed region of the world.

Many Muslims throughout the Middle East are coming to Christ through signs and wonders like those performed by Paul and Barnabas in the Book of Acts. The road to Damascus is where the apostle Paul walked and stopped at the home of Ananias where he was baptized. And that was the start of an incredible ministry that has changed the world. Today in Syria, other evangelists are following in his footsteps.
One evangelist named Rasim shares his faith in a mosque with the imam. He gave the Islamic priest a copy of the Bible and the Jesus film.
"I told him if you read the Bible, you'll believe and your mind will be changed--the Lord is God and he died for you," Rasim said. "He took the Bible and he said, 'maybe.'"
Several Christians joined Rasim in the mosque and prayed for an elderly Muslim man named Bakram. He could barely walk because he had broken his knee and it had not healed properly.
"Bakram was healed and he started dancing and was very happy," Rasim said. "Hallelujah! There's a miracle in the mosque!"
Like the secret Muslim converts and other Christians, Rasim's safety is at risk. While he is often afraid when he approaches a mosque, he said he feels the peace of God once he steps through the door in faith.
And because he courageously pushes forward, the knees of a Bedouin woman were also healed recently when Rasim paid a visit to her home.
"We have fear, but Jesus is with us—Emmanuel is with us," Rasim said. "Jesus said, 'I am with you forever' and we need to go to the mosques and everywhere to tell people the truth about Him and His love(Source)."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Louisiana: Sidewalk Sunday School Kicked To The Curb

06/04/2012 United States (Charisma News) - A Sunday school program for at-risk youth has been thrown out of its public meeting place in Baton Rogue, La. But Voices of Mercy Outreach Ministries isn’t giving up on the kids it loves so easily.

The East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission kicked Voices of Mercy Outreach Ministries' Sidewalk Sunday School to the curb due to a ban on religious activities. The commission may end up rethinking its stance, though, since Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against it.
“Faith-based groups shouldn’t be singled out for discrimination—especially a group like this that has provided such selfless service to at-risk youth and their parents for many years,” says ADF senior legal counsel Joel Oster. “The Sidewalk Sunday School program has the same constitutionally protected right as any other community group to hold its activities at a public park. There’s no constitutional basis to throw them out, and it’s a mystery why the commission would even want to do so in light of the valuable work this group does for the community.”

Voices of Mercy Outreach Ministries had operated at a public park for five years before the ban stymied its efforts. However, ADF said the commission allowed at least one other religious group to hold an event at the park despite the so-called ban. ADF says the commission actually invited a local church to host a Community Outreach Day that included the distribution of religious literature(Source).